Star man Graham Walker crowned digital champ

Digital champ: The Star's Graham Walker, centre, receives the O2 regional Mulit Media Journalist Of The Year Award from boxer Ryan Rhodes, left, and trainer Dave Coldwell.
Digital champ: The Star's Graham Walker, centre, receives the O2 regional Mulit Media Journalist Of The Year Award from boxer Ryan Rhodes, left, and trainer Dave Coldwell.

THE Star’s Graham Walker was knocked out when boxer Ryan Rhodes turned up to crown him multimedia journalist of the year at the regional 02 Media Awards.

Digital editor Graham, aged 49, was praised for keeping pace with technology and using different communication methods to keep readers informed.

Judges were particularly impressed with his his exclusive video interview with Rhodes recorded via an iPad Facetime link while the boxer was 5,000 miles away on the eve of a world title fight in Mexico.

But Rhodes wasn’t at the other side of the world during the event ceremony - he was a special guest to present the award, along with boxing promoter Dave Coldwell.

Graham, of Elsecar, Barnsley, said: “I’m rarely lost for words but in this Olympic year I really was knocked out to strike gold and receive the award from a real champ, Ryan.”

Judges said Graham made many of them feel ashamed that they were not keeping pace with the opportunities presented by technology.

They added: “This was a man who didn’t just dip his toe into the water when the Internet gave editorial teams the freedom to release news instantly…he immersed himself totally …and taught himself how to dive.

“As digital editor of the Sheffield Star he was working across print and digital platforms, using his 30 years experience as a journalist to deliver words, pictures and films to break and tell stories.

“The panel were particularly impressed with his exclusive video interview with World Champion boxer Ryan Rhodes. As the rest of the world’s media scrambled for an interview before the Sheffield boxer’s world title fight in Mexico, Walker was chatting to Ryan via an I-Pad and recording the Facetime video clips on a pocket camcorder while sitting 5,000 miles away in Sheffield. Knockout!”

Sports Journalist of the Year was BBC Radio Sheffield’s Paul Walker and Sheffield College student Alex Whitehead was named best Emerging Talent at the Yorkshire and Humberside Awards ceremony. Judges praised the budding photographer’s portfolio, produced while studying on the NCTJ course.

More than 150 journalists working across newspapers, television, radio and specialist publications attended this year’s awards ceremony at the Northern Ballet Theatre in Leeds.

Sixteen awards were presented celebrating the work of the regional press in their communities.

VIPs at the awards also included Emmerdale stars Fiona Wade and Bhasker Patel, pop fashion designer Kelly Ewing and Sheffield’s Kerry Needham, mother of missing Ben, the subject of a new 20th anniversary police inquiry sparked by an ITV Yorkshire Calendar report which won scoop of the year.

Nicola Green, head of communications and reputation at O2, said: “Since the awards first launched in Yorkshire and the Humber four years ago we’ve seen the media industry go through huge changes but one thing has remained constant … the tremendous role that regional journalists perform in their communities.

“Whether they work in print, digital or broadcast mediums or increasingly these days across all of these spectrums, regional journalists continue to inform, entertain and protect the villages, towns and regions they serve.”

For full list of winners see

The full results for the O2 Yorkshire and the Humber 2012 Media Awards were as follows:

Multi Media Journalist of the Year: Graham Walker, The Star, Sheffield. Feature Writer of the Year, Joint Winners: Stephen Lewis, The Press, York and Rod McPhee, Yorkshire Evening Post; Photographer of the Year, Stephen Garnett, Craven Herald; Sports Journalist of the Year, Paul Walker, BBC Radio Sheffield; Specialist Publication of the Year, Leeds Student Newspaper; Radio Broadcast Journalist of the Year, Joint Winners: Claire Warren, Radio Aire, and Johnathan l’Anson, BBC Radio Leeds.

Television Broadcast Journalist of the Year, Nicola Rees, BBC Yorkshire Look North; Young Journalist of the Year, Emily Heward, Halifax Courier/Yorkshire Post; News Reporter of the Year, Nicky Harley, Hull Daily Mail; Business Journalist of the Year, Greg Wright, Yorkshire Post; Scoop of the Year, ITV Yorkshire Calendar, for In search of Ben Needham; Editorial Team of the Year, Hull Daily Mail; Newspaper of the Year – Weekly, Rotherham Advertiser; Newspaper of the Year - Daily, Hull Daily Mail; Outstanding Contribution Award, Cyril Skinner – Bridlington Free Press; Emerging Talent Award, Alex Whitehead – Sheffield College.